Netball Central Zone has appointed former New Zealand U21 and Haier Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie as coach of the U23 representative team. The former Silver Fern, who also represented New Zealand at the World Junior Athletics Championships, is vastly experienced at all levels of the game and coached the highly-successful MANUKURA team (previously known as TU TOA) which was crowned national secondary schools champions under her guidance.
She is delighted to have been appointed to her new position with Netball Central and sees it as a real opportunity to develop the outstanding talent coming through the 14 centres in the lower North Island. “It is a privileged opportunity to work with players of this age group,” she explained. “The competition is in its infancy, but the philosophy of providing a pathway for this age group to enable them to further develop is commendable and a chance for me to engage at a new level.
“My goal is to perform well at U23 Nationals with a top four placing. We want to play a game that combines structure with individual flair and to continue to grow players in their love of the game and desire to improve. We will be focussing on quality execution of netball basic fundamentals under pressure and at pace, coupled with collegiality in performance.
McCausland-Durie is keen to stress the important role the Netball Central Zone U23 team has to play in supporting the development of the Haier Pulse squad going forward. “It is a platform for the continuation of all players’ development and has the potential to produce a few players ready for the ANZ Championship level. There is a distinct difference in levels of readiness and the U23 campaign is a small part of this process for players to recognise the shifts needed.
So does she visualise a time in the near future when the Haier Pulse will consist entirely of home-grown players? “The ANZ Championship is a business and as such requires people ready to contribute to that business. All player development at every high performance level provides the opportunity of presenting players to participate that level. However, it is realistic to expect that teams will continue to be made up of players from a range of Zones including Central.
“To bring players through the Zone and ready for trans-Tasman competition would require an intensive and deliberate focus which I sense is underway in the Central Zone with development programmes such as Talent ID and of course the U23's, centre representative teams along with our club and secondary school netball provisions to grow readiness. A central body focused on High Performance will identify, nurture and grow talent, as is the vision of Netball Central, so that we do have more players contesting for ANZ contracts in future years from the Central Zone.”
Netball Central Zone and Haier Pulse CEO, Carolyn Young, is thrilled to have secured the signature of such a talented and experienced coach to lead a key representative team. “Yvette brings a wealth of experience from genuine grassroots netball right through to the elite level. Her technical and tactical knowledge will be invaluable to our U23 team, but she offers so much more than that with her ability to motivate and empower players to fulfil their potential. We are very excited about the forthcoming U23 Championship, which is being held in Dunedin between 7-10 July, and this appointment shows the importance we are placing on developing the next generation of players capable of stepping up to Haier Pulse selection.”